Google My Business (GMB) is an extremely valuable platform for businesses to communicate information to their target audience as well as a tool to boost your local SEO. As a busy owner or marketer, the last thing you want is another network to manage. However, GMB is different. It can help accomplish many goals and get your website in front of the right eyes, which leads to conversions and sales. 

In the recent Google My Business Insights Study, Bright Local surveyed 45,000 GMB profiles. They found that on average, typical businesses receive 59 actions from their GMB listing each month: 

  • 56 percent of those actions are website visits
  • 20 percent directions
  • 24 percent calls 

Website visits are certainly a valuable opportunity to capture leads with landing or sale pages on your site. However, the fascinating finding is that nearly half of all GMB actions show high user intent, i.e., people wanting to know how to get to your business (directions), or putting them in direct contact with your staff via a call.  

In our Google My Business Beginner’s Guide, we’ll further explain why you need to prioritize your business’s GMB profile with step-by-step instructions on how to do so. 

Why GMB is Important 

Having an updated Google My Business profile is a legitimizing factor on the first page of Google. When someone searches for a business and sees an updated GMB listing and recently posted content, they immediately know that the business is open and actively promotes their product/service. They don’t need to navigate to their site to find the hours or wonder if the Google information is correct. 

What’s more, a well-optimized GMB profile can also help your business get a spot in the local 3-pack. According to MOZ, GMB signals account for 25 percent of the local pack/finder ranking signals. 

Now that you understand why it’s important, let’s jump to the tips section of our Google My Business Beginner’s Guide.

Setting up Your Google My Business Profile

Any business with a physical location that’s open for customers to visit can create a Google My Business profile. To verify your business listing, you first need to register with Google. They will either send you a postcard with an activation code or ask you to verify in alternative ways. This usually takes about five to ten business days. (Head to this Google page for more information on that process). It’s important to note if you are a Service Area Business (SAB) and do not have a brick-and-mortar location, Google will treat your listing a little differently. You’ll still verify your business mailing address with Google, but your physical address won’t be visible to the public on search or maps. (Think plumbers, locksmiths, etc.)

Once verified, you can start setting up your GMB profile. Google makes it very easy to complete your page, but here’s the key information you want to include in your profile:

  • Address 
  • Phone Number 
  • Website 
  • Links to your social accounts, if applicable 
  • Business hours 
  • Business description: This section is important, so we expand on it below.
  • Products or services offered: You can also take this one step further and include product images and information, or service categories and options.

Crafting the Perfect Business Description

For your business description, you’re allotted 750 characters, so don’t just write a general boring overview of your business. Treat this like a promotional piece of content—explain what sets you apart from competitors, how you make your target customer/client’s life easier or the problems you solve. 

For example, it won’t impact readers to know you’ve been in business for 20 years (yawn!). Instead, explain to them how you’ve actionably helped your customers for those 20 years. If you can, also try to naturally include some of the top keywords targeted toward your audience 

Posting Value-Driven Content

Once you set up your profile, the next step is to consistently post content. These posts will show below your profile on the search engine results page (SERP). 

To get started, head to the posts section of your dashboard. You have the option to add an offer, event or update (this is just a general post which can include any relevant info). Once you click “add post”, you can add media (photo or video), a caption and CTA. 

how to use google my business

 

When brainstorming what to post, think locally-focused content and topics. Ask yourself, “If I were Googling a business, what would be the relevant information I would want to show up? Would I want to see specials, informational posts, upcoming events etc.?” 

Here are some examples of the type of content to post on Google My Business:

  • Promotions: recent offers, sales or specials. 
  • Seasonal updates: information on how seasons or holidays impact your business, think “Extended Summer Hours start next week!” 
  • On-site images: Give searchers an idea of what they can expect when they visit your business—post exterior and interior images, photos of your staff or even new displays. 
  • FAQs: Create posts that answer your most frequently asked questions. Frame the caption as a question to catch viewers’ attention, then answer it. 

The built-in CTA buttons allow you to direct viewers to book, order online, buy, learn more, sign up or call. 

Pro tip: The “Learn more” button can be very versatile if you explain in the caption where that leads. For our clients, we often post educational content then link to further resources, see how, in the example below. 

Repurpose Content 

Anyone managing a business has a million tasks on their to-do list, so adding another network to your social media/content calendar might seem daunting. But the good news is that you can easily repurpose relevant content from other social networks (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) for GMB.

For clients, we take a look back at the best performing posts on social media. That way, we have data to support that content is successful with our audience. We make sure to choose posts that make sense for GMB (i.e., we wouldn’t necessarily post an inspirational quote, that wouldn’t translate on a SERP). Then, if necessary, we tailor slightly and post. 

Encouraging Reviews 

GMB allows you to collect customer reviews, ratings and feedback. Google confirms that more reviews and responses improve your business’s local ranking. As another bonus, reviews are social proof for potential customers. 

Actively seek out your customer or clients’ feedback to gather more reviews on your GMB page. 

Try these tips to encourage more reviews:

  • Ask right after a sale, when their experience is still fresh in their mind.
  • Make it easy for them and send a direct link to your GMB page. (Look for the personalized link in your dashboard – it will lead your customers straight there!)
  • Include a section in your email newsletters. 
  • Consider including a link in your sales team’s email footer. 
  • Help them craft the review with tips. For example, “We’d love it if you could leave a review for our business and explain why you liked our product. You can even include a fun picture!

Encouraging reviews is step one. Next, you need to respond to those reviews—both negative and positive. Regular interactions show that your staff is responsive and makes your business, as a whole, look more caring. For positive reviews, a simple thank you is plenty. For negative reviews, promptly address the issue or offer to get in touch with them ASAP. Don’t get into a fight, argue or be defensive. Aim for an understanding, helpful and empathetic tone.

EPOCH Clemson, a student housing property, is an expert at both encouraging feedback and engaging with their audience. 

Use Data to Optimize Future Content 

GMB offers data on each of your posts to help you understand how many people saw and acted on that post. Use these insights to guide your future strategy. If a post got no clicks or calls, try a new tactic. Alternatively, if you see more success with videos than static images, try to post more video content. 

A targeted video we created for our client with increased views/clicks. 

Use our Google My Business Beginner’s Guide to Get Started Today! 

Now it’s your turn to optimize your GMB profile and maximize the value of the platform. Remember, like any other digital marketing strategy, consistency is key.

If you need help with your business’s digital presence or increasing your local ranking, get in touch with the SEO experts at 10x. We have proven success with local SEO!